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Social Media Toolkit for

K-12 Educators • Getting started with social media


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Social media is a popular way for districts to raise awareness about key events happening in the district; to highlight successes; and to communicate with parents, students, staff, community members, and the district as a whole. This Social Media Toolkit assists districts/schools in determining what social media outlets, networks, sites, and web 2.0 tools are best and processes on implementation. The rapid growth of social media technologies combined with their ease of use and popularity makes them attractive channels of communication. However, these tools host the possibility of unintended consequences. The goal of the Social Media Toolkit is to assist districts/schools in identifying and avoiding potential issues. Remember, working within technology requires the building and maintenance of relationships too.

Determining Social Media Goals » It is important to set social media goals before you determine what social media you will implement. This section of the Toolkit will walk you through the process of determining your district’s/school’s social media goals. The foundations for Forrester Research Inc.’s book Groundswell are based on the POST social strategy. The idea centers around assessing your audience (People), setting goals (Objectives), planning for change (Strategy), and choosing your media (Technology). To read further about this strategy, visit: http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2007/12/the-post-method.html.

Step 1: What is your district’s/school’s purpose for using social media? Examples: • Improve communication and collaboration between staff and community • Integrate new learning technologies in the classroom • Build awareness • Increase website traffic • Build a feedback channel for parents and other community members The purpose(s) for my district/school in using social media is/are:–

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Step 2: Write your district’s/school’s social media goal. Here is an example goal: • The [Insert district/school name] social media goal is to enhance communication with staff, students, and the community as well as provide timely access to important information. The goal(s) for my district/school is/are:

Step 3: Review the social media overview on the following pages to determine which outlets/tools best fit into your communication plan.

What’s the best fit? Check ‘em out For the most part, all social media outlets have similar benefits. The information on the following pages outlines benefits and considerations of which social media outlets are best for the district/school.

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Social Media Overview

Social conversation Twitter offers a social

Benefits

networking and microblogging

• INCREASED VISIBILITY An excellent outlet to create visibility of what’s going on in your district/school.

service, enabling its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts displayed on the user’s profile page which can also include videos and pictures. Users may subscribe to or follow other users’ tweets—as subscribers are also known as followers. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their followers.

• COLLABORATING AND COMMUNICATING Helps build and maintain relationships with community. (parents, staff, students, partners, etc.) • REAL-TIME UPDATES Ability to communicate updates or events in district/school as they occur. • EXPAND COMMUNITY PRESENCE Direct traffic to a blog, news updates, links, and events that are occurring at the district or in the community. • IMPROVE GOOGLE PAGE RANK Improves the position of your site on Google search results.

Considerations • Possibility of posting something that is threatening or hateful to a person or entity (if someone disregards the policy set into place). • Quality of writing—possibility of making grammatical or spelling errors.

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Social Media Overview

Blog A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and message each other via widgets on blogs. This interactivity distinguishes them from other static websites.

Benefits • INCREASED VISIBILITY An excellent outlet to create visibility of what’s going on in your district/school. • COLLABORATING AND COMMUNICATING Helps build and maintain relationships with community. (parents, staff, students, partners, etc.) • REAL-TIME UPDATES Ability to communicate updates or events in district/school as they occur. • EXPAND COMMUNITY PRESENCE Direct traffic to a blog, news updates, links, and events that are occurring at the district or in the community. • IMPROVE GOOGLE PAGE RANK Improves the position of your site on Google search results. • ESTABLISHES/POSITIONS YOU AS THE EXPERT

Considerations • Possibility of posting something that is threatening or hateful to a person or entity (if someone disregards the policy set into place). • Quality of writing—possibility of making grammatical or spelling errors. • Possibility of copyright infringement. • Frequency—An effective way to keep users is to maintain a blog once every three weeks, at minimum.

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Social Media Overview

Social Profile Facebook is the leading social network with more than 500 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Or, users may join common interest user groups, organized by work, school, college, or other characteristics. Overall, profiles are for people and Fan Pages are for businesses or shcools in this case. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13 years of age to become a registered user of the website.

Benefits • INCREASED VISIBILITY An excellent outlet to create visibility of what’s going on in your district/school. • COLLABORATING AND COMMUNICATING Helps build and maintain relationships with community. (parents, staff, students, partners, etc.) • REAL-TIME UPDATES Ability to communicate updates or events in district/school as they occur. • EXPAND COMMUNITY PRESENCE Direct traffic to a blog, news updates, links, and events that are occurring at the district or in the community. • IMPROVE GOOGLE PAGE RANK Improves the position of your site on Google search results. • COLLECT FEEDBACK Gauge public interest, obtain feedback, and test the pulse of stakeholders.

Considerations • Privacy of users can be compromised if policy/ guidelines are not put in place • Possibility to waste time • Email spamming • Tagging of photos/videos that are inappropriate • Posts that are inappropriate • The majority of Facebook users (61%) are 35 or older (www.flowtown.com), indicating parents of students are probable users Copyright©2011 ESC Region XIII and ESC Region 12

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Social Media Overview

Business Profile LinkedIn is a networking

Benefits

site that targets working

• COLLABORATING AND COMMUNICATING Helps build and maintain relationships with community. (parents, staff, students, partners, etc.)

professionals looking to reconnect with friends, make a career move, or seek professional consultation. As of November 2, 2010, LinkedIn had more than 80 million registered users, spanning

• EXPAND COMMUNITY PRESENCE Direct traffic to a blog, news updates, links, and events that are occurring at the district or in the community.

territories worldwide. The site

• IMPROVE GOOGLE PAGE RANK Improves the position of your site on Google search results.

is available in English, French,

• ESTABLISHES/POSITIONS YOU AS THE EXPERT

more than 200 countries and

German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million users globally.

Considerations • If you create a profile and then decide to delete it, your information is still displayed in the LinkedIn’s directory and is cached by all major search engines • Not widely used in the education arena

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